Four days like a whirlwind and here I am sitting at home thinking how it was already a week ago that I was first stepping into Nashville, first taking in the convention center and feeling excited. I left with four signed books, one of which was free, four more free books and a dvd, pages of notes taken, and a sense of exhaustion intertwined with spiritual rest. We discussed the hard things of life and yet I was not brought down but lifted up and encouraged. I met many great and humble leaders in the Christian counseling community as well as authors and speakers. I heard from the likes of Matt Chandler, Lysa Terkeurst, Liz Curtis Higgs (who I also got to meet), Dr. Sian-Yang Tan, Diane Langberg, and many, many others. But the one that stuck with me the most were the words of John Ortberg.
His message seems simple but is often hard in concept. He spoke on living an open door life. He encouraged us to be open to want what God wants us to do but not be so worried about making the right choices as making the obedient choice. And, if we don’t get it right, that does not condone the mindset that God has given up on the best plan for us. God does not settle for plan B for us when we make mistakes, otherwise we would all be on plan B. Jesus Christ ensured we would all have plan A, because in Him we find forgiveness and acceptance and a life worth living.
One thing that really struck me about his session was the statement he made in regards to why we don’t live open door lives. Ortberg said, “Too often Christians use the excuse of not being at ‘peace’ as the reason for why they do not go through the door.” He then went on to say that God does not promise peace when going through the door and gave the example of David and Goliath and Noah building the Ark. He states that peace comes after obedience.
The giant may be much, much bigger and much, much stronger.
The rain may never come.
Yet obedience is still required.
This resonated with me in an overwhelming way. I have had many experiences where I knew I was supposed to do something and I did not feel at peace until I obeyed. Sometimes, like recently, this thing I was supposed to do was scary. I was afraid and put it off and worried and thought surely I am meant to do something else. The battle was mostly in my mind but I could not rest until I was obedient to God’s call. So I walked through that door trembling with humility and prayer and guess what? Those things I feared, didn’t happen.
That is not to say that those things we fear will always not happen but I knew that in that moment when I chose to obey and walk through the door God was in complete control. It was no longer about me and my thoughts.
So why don’t we walk through those doors? Why do we allow fear to hinder us, to change our minds and wills when the God of the universe is whispering, “Walk. Go. Trust me.”
That is really what it all comes down to, trusting in God that He will do what He says He will do.
The giant will fall.
The rain will come like a flood.
Our lives are not about being comfortable and safe. Our lives are about grace- grace for us and grace from us to others. It is not about us, what we hope to attain, but less of us and more of Christ that we may be more for others. It is about the giving away.
Life is one great gift, but not just God’s gift to us. It is our gift to give away to others that they may have the gift of everlasting life that God freely gives.
Open door lives are not easy lives, but they are not lonely loves either. God will be with us through it all. All we have to do is trust in Him and move.
I want to live a bold life- my theme of No Fear this year- and go through the doors God sets before me. I want to be obedient, not comfortable or at peace. Out of conflict growth occurs and the conflict between my soul’s longing and the fears of my mind will set forth growth if I submit to God and focus more on who I am becoming in Him rather than the door or situation itself.
Ortberg points out that Abraham Maslow suggests we all have the Jonah Complex: we resist our call.
What if we stopped resisting? What if we stopped second guessing and waiting for peace and instead just got moving and trusted God that no matter which way we go He will lead us to Him as long as our eyes remain on Jesus?
I want an open-door life. It starts today. Small decisions, small doors. Because as Ortberg mentions, the kingdom of God is where we are and where we need to be may just be one doorframe away.